New Zealand’s second largest city and the South Island’s main hub, Christchurch has a lot to offer travelling families. With retail hot spots, stacks of arts and culture, adventure activities and lovely dining opportunities all close to the city, Christchurch is hard to beat.
Driving from other South Island centres will be a comfortable trip if taken over one or two days. From Invercargill, Christchurch is 573 km, from Dunedin 363 km and from Nelson, 429 km. If you’re travelling from the North Island, you can take your car on the ferry – Wellington is 414 km and Auckland, a rather long 1054 km. Unless you are wanting to make several stops on the way, you may prefer to fly to Christchurch from other centres – many flights are direct and inexpensive, with Christchurch being a key stopover to many New Zealand locations.
Christchurch hosts a recently renovated international airport – so if you’re coming from an international destination, you may choose to fly into Christchurch instead of Auckland, depending on your travel itinerary and what your family wants to see in New Zealand.
Car relocations are also a good, cheap option if you don’t mind your trip being worked to a time schedule.
When should we go?
There’s really no wrong time to visit Christchurch. It is a temperate climate, with a relatively low rainfall and few snowy days. Average summer temperatures are 19-23OC, and winter temperatures range between approximately 11-13OC. Days can be chilly in autumn, winter and spring – come prepared with warmers clothes if travelling in these seasons.
Christchurch is known as the ‘Garden City’ so you may choose to visit at the time of the year when you will make the most of this feature.
Suffering tremendous damage from earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Christchurch is not the city it used to be – but it is still a very exciting, buzzing centre that has a vast array of family attractions. Previously famous for beautiful, gothic central city buildings that were a wealth of history and architecture; the Christchurch of today is emerging as a new and vibrant city. With so many options available to the city which has in many ways been given the opportunity to ‘start again’, Christchurch is gaining momentum for all it has to offer post-earthquakes. Making Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 cities to visit in 2013 is testament to the fact that Christchurch is a strong community that will not be left behind. Many attractions that operated before the earthquakes are still operational today. Some excellent new attractions have opened. It may be the case that you can no longer eat a picnic lunch in Cathedral Square, but you can now visit the fabulous container mall re:START – visitors who have never been will still love what they see, and those who haven’t been for a while will likely be stunned by what Christchurch has become!